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Alaska State Senator Fred Dyson Information

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Offenses Against Unborn Children
Sponsor Statement for SB 219
Alaska State Legislature
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Last Updated:
April 5, 2004
Jason M. Hooley
HESS Committee Aide
465-3762 (Jan-May)
694-6683 (June-Dec)



"SB 219 establishes the following crimes against an unborn child: murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and assault."
- Sen. Dyson

 

"An Act relating to offenses against unborn children."

Twenty-nine states have enacted laws that recognize unborn children as victims of violent crimes covered by state laws. Recently, the U.S. Congress passed the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and President Bush subsequently signed the bill into law. This federal law recognizes that when a person attacks a pregnant woman, and injures or kills her unborn child, the attacker has harmed two victims. The bill establishes that if an unborn child is injured or killed during the commission of a federal crime of violence, then the assailant may be charged with a second offense on behalf of the second victim, the unborn child. The exact charge would depend on which federal law is involved, the degree of harm done to the child, and other factors. Recently, this issue has saturated the media in the highly publicized case involving Scott, Laci, and Conner Peterson.

Thus far, it has been consistently established that unborn victims laws do not conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court's pro-abortion decrees (Roe v. Wade, etc.). Many legal challenges have been brought against state unborn victims laws, based on Roe and other constitutional arguments, but state and federal courts have rejected all such challenges.

Pregnant women who have been harmed by violence, and their families, know that there are two victims -- the mother and the unborn child -- and both victims should be protected by law. SB 219 recognizes this value of life and establishes, in law, defense for the unborn victims of violent crime.

SB 219 establishes the following crimes against an unborn child: murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and assault. Explicit exceptions from these crimes are made for legal abortion and for customary medical treatment. This bill also defines "unborn child" within the criminal statutes.

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